Man's inhumanity to man reached new levels of odium. The generally trigger-happy Israeli army fired at unarmed demonstrators at the fence cordoning Gazans into a prison. That hundreds were injured and at least 18 killed evoked little sympathy from our media and certainly no one dared criticize Benjamin Netanyahu's crowing of the incident as a great victory.
But Israel has new worries. For the first time, Palestinians (Christian and Muslim) now outnumber Jews within Israel and the occupied territories. A half million more now with the difference expected to widen on account of the higher Palestinian birth rate. Hence a war of attrition.
Thus the village of Umm al-Hiran, which was razed to the ground after the eviction of its residents. Ayman Odeh, a Palestinian Arab member of the Knesset, was shot in the head and back by rubber bullets as he and others protested. The area will now house Jewish settlers.
The reality of eviction, ethnic cleansing and annexation is not news, but is an undeniable new reality seeking to cordon off Palestinians in the worst areas. For some Israelis, the choice boils down to segregated Bantustans or brutal expulsion. The country itself is changing as Middle-Eastern Mizrahi and Sephardic Jews now number closer to the European Ashkenazi and are expected to exceed them eventually. A civilized living together is excluded by religion in this Middle-Eastern enclave masquerading as a Western democracy; more like George Wallace's Alabama awaiting a Martin Luther King, Jr.
2500 miles east lies another beleaguered population, the Kashmiris
suffering a brutal decades-long occupation by an estimated one-quarter
to three-quarter-million force of Indian soldiers. In one tactic they
use shotgun weapons loaded with small-pellet shells -- no riot-control
techniques for them. Their preferred target is not the lower body but
the upper, resulting in all-too-numerous instances of small boys and
young men being blinded for life. Major Aditya Kumar was charged with
murder after one incident only to be granted relief recently by a pliant
Indian Supreme Court.
Demonstrations have intensified since the killing of the popular and charismatic rebel leader,
Burhan Wani, in July 2016. He was just 21. Thousands of civilians have
been injured, many blinded, and many have died as a result of the
brutal response by the occupation forces. The latest incident on April1
led to 20 deaths.
promised a plebiscite under UN supervision about 70 years ago. It has
not been held. The fact that Kashmiris are in massive civilian protest
as well as open rebellion is well established by the presence of
troops. It is also abundantly clear, given a choice, that Kashmiris
would tell their Indian overlords to get the hell out. Whether they
would want to join Pakistan or wish to remain by themselves is an open
question. It hardly matters in these days of open economic
But foresight or statesmanship is not to be expected in leaders pushing their antiquated and noisome upper-caste Hindu supremacy, tarnishing the founder Nehru's proud boast of a secular state. Add to it a rewriting of history in which the Taj Mahal is a Hindu temple. It is not. In the new India Christians, Muslims and lower-caste Hindus (Dalits) are under constant threat or attack.
there we are ... two nuclear powers in constant confrontation without
the sense to bury a colonial past and forge a new modern subcontinent.
No, that would be much too sensible. Instead, religious extremism has
secured a foothold and we all know how that can end unless it is quickly